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DNA Repair (Amst). 2010 Aug 5;9(8):879-88. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2010.05.003. Epub 2010 Jun 12.

DNA ligase 4 stabilizes the ribosomal DNA array upon fork collapse at the replication fork barrier.

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  • 1Department of Biomedicine, Institute of Biochemistry and Genetics, University of Basel, Switzerland.


DNA double-strand breaks (DSB) were shown to occur at the replication fork barrier in the ribosomal DNA of Saccharomyces cerevisiae using 2D-gel electrophoresis. Their origin, nature and magnitude, however, have remained elusive. We quantified these DSBs and show that a surprising 14% of replicating ribosomal DNA molecules are broken at the replication fork barrier in replicating wild-type cells. This translates into an estimated steady-state level of 7-10 DSBs per cell during S-phase. Importantly, breaks detectable in wild-type and sgs1 mutant cells differ from each other in terms of origin and repair. Breaks in wild-type, which were previously reported as DSBs, are likely an artefactual consequence of nicks nearby the rRFB. Sgs1 deficient cells, in which replication fork stability is compromised, reveal a class of DSBs that are detectable only in the presence of functional Dnl4. Under these conditions, Dnl4 also limits the formation of extrachromosomal ribosomal DNA circles. Consistently, dnl4 cells displayed altered fork structures at the replication fork barrier, leading us to propose an as yet unrecognized role for Dnl4 in the maintenance of ribosomal DNA stability.

2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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